Month in Review

Mid-Year Review 2019

We are now at the halfway point of 2019. I am positive that all it took for us to get here was a blink of an eye.

Money

The first order of business is a budget update! I’ve cumulatively included both May and June expenses since I was on a hiatus.

Over the past two months, my expenses in Singapore averaged SGD2,530 per month. There were many large one-off expenses that I made including:

  • lending money to friends and family
  • buying a book on Amazon (which is still stuck in customs!)
  • converting SGD995.20 to MYR, which provided me with approximately RM3,000 for investing
  • I also applied for a US visa…. maybeeeee will be traveling there soon?
  • I bought a pair of new shoes for SGD46.90

I came to terms with the fact that I prefer traveling by Grab instead of public transport for longer journeys. Because it saves time and you know what they say, time is money. Going forward, I estimate spending between SGD130-SGD150 a month on Grab alone.

On the home front, things are straightforward. I visited KL at the end of June and racked up most of my expenses during that weekend. Most notably, I invested RM2,000 in my Stashaway fund. Outside of that investment, my biggest commitment is still my car loan.

Portfolio Snapshot

I haven’t done one of these in frigging AGES.

StockLast Done PriceAverage Price% HoldingUnrealised Profit/Loss
INARI1.611.89626.62-15.08
LIIHEN2.893.0016.85-3.67
MAYBANK8.989.5524.15-6.1
PARAMON2.281.8410.3124.18
UCHITEC2.882.6222.079.92
Overall % P/L-1.40

Confession time: I haven’t monitored or made changes to the portfolio since February. Occasionally, I take a peek but the portfolio has entered into a passive state. There were some dividends this year, and with the volatile nature of the US-China trade wars, some of the holdings have suffered paper losses in the short term.

I missed many opportunities. This year has been a whirlwind of moving to a new country, settling into a new job, getting through a tough exam, adjusting to a different life that I barely had any time to keep up to date with the market.

I’m not going to keep making excuses for myself. As an investor, it is my responsibility to make sure that I make the right decisions for my portfolio. I can see a huge problem with allocation right now that needs to be addressed. I’m unsure of keeping my holding in Inari but I haven’t done any recent research to justify taking an action.

I expect there will be more decisions in the coming months and I’ll update my thoughts and the outcomes here as well.

Some Other Thoughts

At this point in the year, we often find ourselves doing a bucketload of self-reflecting. We wish the year turn out exactly how we envisioned it but 100% of the time, it never works out the way we planned it to.

I love planning. Throughout life, I’ve made tons of plans. I’ve drafted mind maps, made to-do lists, fleshed out extensive travel itineraries, planned blog posts and created content planners. The problem is, I’m not very good at sticking to a plan.

More often than not, I’m late for coffee with a friend, I completely bail on a night out, quit the gym after two weeks, make a commitment to write a weekly blog post and then go on an extended hiatus for two months. I’m an excellent planner but I am shit at the execution.

Often I question: Why am I so bad at following through on a plan properly?

Life optimizers will tell you that in order to achieve something, you have to build habits first. Incremental effort equals eventual success.

We make the mistake of setting outrageous goals for ourselves, because we make them for the ideal version of ourselves. Goals for a me who doesn’t need a break, a me who fills my 16 waking hours a day with productive things, a me that has more discipline.

At the start of this year, I outline some goals that I wanted to achieve in 2019. In hindsight, some of my goals were lofty. Quite frankly, they’re idealistic. You know how in college they tell you to make SMART goals? Yeah, these weren’t very SMART.

In any case, let’s track the progress of these goals:

  • A 40% savings rate and a 10% emergency fund pool – Currently, a 35% savings rate, 0% emergency fund pool
  • Double my portfolio size – Portfolio grew approximately 10% from cash injected into various investments this year.
  • RM5,000 into my Travel the World fund – RM0
  • Reduce my personal care and shopping expenses – I’d like to think this expense category has been reduced but then I end up buying things like underwear, shoes, deodorants, and cleansers.
  • Reduce transport costs – HAH
  • Give back time and money – I make donations where I can but I could be doing better here
  • Work on more rewarding and fun projects – I have some projects lined up for the second half of this year so I am excited to start working on them.
  • Invest in education – The CFA counts right?
  • Create more content for this site, market it better and monetize it – *monkey covering eyes emoji*

I am a relatively average person, for the most part. I live an unexciting life, I don’t have the urge to shop or spend extravagantly…aside from one big travel plan yearly. I am not the best at saving money and I don’t really have a keen investment sense. Most of the things I do, I learn as I go along.

Maybe the secret to achieving your goals is to make them work for the average you, not the ideal you. Giving yourself room to make mistakes, to have a break, and to enjoy the process instead of stressing yourself out trying to get to the unfeasible finish line.

And so, to update these goals to something a little bit more workable:

  • A 30% savings rate and a 10% emergency fund pool. (This is in line with the current level of expenses I make every month. Knowing I will be spending between SGD1,800 to SGD2,200 a month makes it easier for me to estimate how much I will end up saving every month.)
  • Reinvest up to 30% of said savings into building my portfolio.
  • Maintain personal care expenses and shopping below SGD1000 by year end.
  • Write one article a week for this blog.

This seems like a more reasonable list, right? Simple enough.

Now begins the hard part.

How was your year so far? Are you on track to achieving the goals you’ve set out this year? Comment below or come talk to me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Image via Unsplash.

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